A Labor Doula Lifestyle
You have the heart. You’ve been supporting people you care about forever. You know that there’s more to your yearning to help, to provide, and to educate. You wonder if the labor doula lifestyle is a possibility for you. Being on-call, supporting a complete stranger in a time of utmost vulnerability, and preparing yourself for a doula business of sustainability and success. While the labor doula lifestyle isn’t for everyone, for some, it’s just the ticket.
What’s a Labor Doula
A labor doula is a skilled individual who supports another person during pregnancy, childbirth, and the immediate postpartum period. In the capacity of emotional, physical, and educational support to promote a serene environment for the birthing person. Labor doulas are not medical, and therefore do not give medical advice, nor treat or diagnose. They are often an extension of the family and can provide a sense of compassion and understanding between the medical staff and the client in the birthing space. Labor doulas support not only the birthing person but also the partner and even members of the client’s family.
Labor Doula Lifestyle
The on-call life is not for the weary. You have a special ringtone for your clients. A text thread that reads like conversations over a warm cup of coffee to girl talk over cocktails. You check in, you connect, and you build a relationship special to that family. Then you wait…and wait… and wait. From the moment the call comes through that your client feels they are in labor, your world shifts. You make sure that your family and household will be able to function without you for 6-10+ hours.
Setting up systems in life will aid in living a successful labor doula lifestyle. What obligations do you have? Is there another job that will have to be notified? How many clients can you take on a month realistically? How many births a month do you need financially? What does your support look like at home? And most importantly, what is your self-care routine?
The labor doula lifestyle looks different for everyone. There’s really no wrong or right way to live the doula life because it’s your life. Navigating the labor doula lifestyle is as easy as deciding what the work looks like for you. Whether you start off slow to get your feet wet or jump full into the waters, there’s a place for you in this work. Build your confidence and community with colleagues and continuing education. Connect with someone like-minded to be your backup doula for when life throws curveballs, vacations, illnesses, etc.
Benefits of Labor Doulas
The benefits of being a doula are unique to each individual. For some, becoming a doula is a way to give back to society, their communities, etc. Others are attracted to this field as a way to heal from and understand their own birthing experience. For many, the idea of providing that “village” in Western culture is lacking support for families. It’s a way to make a difference and to change birth outcomes for the better. Overall, there is a need and a desire for doulas.
Doulas benefit birth by reducing the risks of cesarean birth and promoting a higher rate of spontaneous vaginal birth. The support of doula results in shorter laboring. A decrease in medications for pain management. Doula support has been known to increase satisfaction with birth outcomes.
Becoming a Labor Doula
Becoming a doula has never been more enticing, enriching, and more sought after than ever before. Insurances such as states, private, and Medicaid are becoming more and more aware of the benefits of doula support to their members. Because of this, insurance companies are beginning to reimburse doulas for their labor doula support to their members. That’s why NOW is a great time to become a labor doula if you have been thinking about doing so.
The first thing is to find a reputable and qualified doula training for certification. The doula profession is unregulated and unlicensed, therefore one will have to do their due diligence to make sure the price you pay, is worth the training you receive. A quick Google search will pull up over 100 doula training across the world. Some are in-person, some are virtual, and some offer a hybrid component. Additionally, check with state requirements that the training organization meets the qualifications for becoming certified to receive reimbursements. ProDoula offers one of the most comprehensive and efficient doula training on the market.
The literal blood, sweat, and tears it takes when diving into the world of birth work as a labor doula is rewarding when you see a family bloom right before you. The unspoken “thank yous”, the “we couldn’t have done this without you”, the assisting with the immediate postpartum rush, and the mental images of a job well done. Yes, the labor doula lifestyle takes a special kind of heart and dedication.